Nicodemus was a thinking man.

Sermon 8 march 2020

 

Nicodemus was a thinking man. He was a member of the Pharisees, a group of Jews who followed the law as closely as they could, and tried to be righteous. Saul was a Pharisee too, and the letter of the law was so important to these people. But Nicodemus had questions. He wasn’t happy to just blindly follow the law – he knew that this Jesus had something different about him, had something he wanted. But because Nicodemus was a man of status in his community, he couldn’t come openly to listen to Jesus’ teachings. He came by night, so that no one would see, and that no one would question whether he was indeed a good Pharisee. Continue reading

Lust, divorce and dishonesty

Sermon Feb 16 St Chad’s

Matthew 5:21-37

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

The gospel reading we have heard today was the occasion of one of the most potentially embarrassing moments of my life. It was the week Kevin and I had decided to get married, and we had announced our forthcoming nuptials in the pew news. I was waiting for my divorce to go through. When we got to church, I had forgotten that I was down to do the reading that day, and had not prepared it – it had been a busy week! The person in charge of the roster came up to me, looking embarrassed, and offered to read it for me, if I didn’t feel comfortable doing so. I thought, oh dear, what on earth is in it? You see, it’s always good to prepare if you are doing a reading! Continue reading

True Worship

Sermon Feb 9

 

Today we have been hearing about fasting and about true sacrifice. There is a contrast between outwardly religious behaviour, and the real religion that springs from the heart.

God, through the prophet Isaiah tells the people that it is a waste of time to make sacrifices and look humble, to cover yourselves with sackcloth and ashes and stand with heads bowed down, if you then go on to oppress the workers, to defraud people of their wages, to quarrel and to be violent. Continue reading

The presentation

Sermon Feb 2 2020 St Ambrose

Our reading today is very multi-generational isn’t it? We have a young family with a new baby, coming to the temple for the rites of purification according to their religion. But we also have not one but two elderly saints featured in the story. Sometimes it’s easy to feel overlooked when we are older, especially in a society which favours the young and glamorous, rather than the old and wrinkly. This is a great story to think about if you reckon you are too old to be of any use in the church. None of you here seem to be slowed down much by age though! Continue reading

Divisions

Sermon Jan 26 St Ambrose

Divisions

Our reading from 1 Corinthians gives us a snapshot of the early church. Instead of everyone working together for the one goal, they are quarrelling and claiming that one group is better than another. Why are they different? After all, they have heard the same message, and surely the church is not yet old enough for the cracks of divisions to show?

The people are claiming difference by who it was that baptised them. It’s not what you know, but who you know, was maybe their motto. They are claiming a certain pedigree in the church because of who had been there in the beginning of their Christian journey. Continue reading

Destiny

Sermon Jan 19 2020 St Chad’s Linwood

Destiny

Do you remember a time when you were young, and you realised what sort of work you wanted to do? Many young children go through phases of wanting to be firemen, ballerinas, princesses, the President.. and that’s maybe all on the one day! But there comes a point, often when we are in our teens, that something gels, something hits us. Maybe we meet an influential person who we look up to, and say to ourselves, That’s what I want to do. I want to be like them.

Our readings for today deal with life-changing moments like this. In The Isaiah reading, there is a sense of purpose, of destiny, of pre-ordination.

The Lord called me before I was born”. Continue reading

New Beginnings

Sermon Jan 12 2020 St Ambrose Aranui

Today we are commemorating the baptism of Jesus. It was a watershed moment – in both senses of the word. It was the beginning of his ministry, as we heard in the reading from Acts, throughout Judea.

There is very little known about what happened between the events of the Nativity and the Epiphany, and Jesus’ baptism. There is the story of Jesus being left behind in the temple when he was twelve, but that is all we have from the intervening years.

Let’s imagine the scene. Continue reading

Rebecca

A story for Christmas, 2019

Rebecca.

My name is Rebecca. I am ten years old, and I live in Judaea, in a town called Bethlehem. It’s usually a very quiet sort of place, but last night it was anything but! First, there were lots of extra people in town – Dad said the Romans wanted everyone to go back to where they were born so they could be counted up for tax. Typical Romans, he said, always wanting our money.

Lots of our cousins were visiting, and the house was packed! The guest room was full and there were people sleeping on the roof, and I had to share my bed with my little cousin, who snores! It was really hard to get to sleep, and there seemed to be some sort of star outside that stopped it getting properly dark. Continue reading

What is a king?

St Ambrose 24 Nov 2019

 

What is a King? It’s not part of our normal day-to-day experience to see a king ruling over us. If we lived in the UK we might see members of the Royal Family from time to time going about their duties, and some of you may have seen Prince Charles in Friday as he and the Duchess visited Christchurch.

But the idea of a King doesn’t have a lot of influence on our daily lives. Let’s turn back the clock to the early days, to the days when Jeremiah was writing – about 2 and a half thousand years ago. Israel had had judges ruling over them, and they wanted a king like the surrounding nations. They got used to kings, with Saul, then David, and so on down the line. the role of the king was to look after the people, to keep them safe and provided for. This is why Jeremiah speaks of shepherds – “ I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.’ Continue reading